Methods to assess the effects of sensory stimulations on wellness

The use of sensorial immersion relaxation devices or practices becomes more and more frequent to face the demand of wellness in our western society, where stress is a hallmark. These various devices use auditory, visual, tactile and olfactory stimuli, as well as a mix of them. At the opposite, some stimuli in the environment could have negative repercussion on our well-being. However, methods for scientifically assessing the physiological and psychological impact of these sensorial stimulations are sorely lacking. This volume of JIMIS will present recent work that may prove useful in the future for scientifically evaluating the impact on the well-being of different types of sensory stimulation, desired or a contrario suffered.

1. Physiological and psychological effects of rapid relaxation devices using sensorial immersion: a pilot study

Gomes, Norma ; Iranfar, Sepideh ; Aridhi, Slah ; Guyon, Alice.
In developed societies, the number of people diagnosed with chronic stress-related illnesses has risen rapidly in recent years. To meet the increasing demand for relaxation and well-being, several companies have developed relaxation installations to be used within business premises or in public locations. The effects of such devices on physiological and psychological parameters have not been scientifically tested yet. This pilot study (N=40) evaluates the variations of 4 physiological and 11 psychological parameters on four different groups, three of them using a different rapid (15 minute) sensorial immersion relaxation devices and a control group using no device. The objective of the study was to identify the psychological and psychological parameters of interest and to study the effects of the devices on these parameters. Physiological parameters measured included heart rate, blood pressure, SpO2 and posture. Psychological parameters included an anxiety survey and four numerical scales to evaluate well-being, energy gain, and subjective muscular and nervous relaxation. We also used cognitive tests and verbatim reports. We identified significant physiological and psychological parameters that can be of use for evaluating rapid relaxation devices (particularly mean blood pressure, posture, subjective muscular and nervous relaxation and some of the cognitive test results). Interestingly, the parameters variations differed between groups. This study paves the […]

2. Physiological effects (heart rate, respiration rate and EEG) of rapid relaxation devices with sensorial immersion: a pilot study

Gomes, Norma ; Iranfar, Sepideh ; Maksymenko, Kostiantyn ; Aridhi, Slah ; Guyon, Alice.
Rapid relaxation devices developed by private companies propose rapid solutions to fight against stress or anxiety. However, there have been insufficient scientific studies on these devices. In a previous article, we evaluated the variation of 15 physiological and psychological parameters before and after relaxation in 4 groups of participants using 3 different rapid (15 minute) relaxation devices with sensorial immersion and a control group using no device. This pilot study included 40 participants, 12 males and 28 females, aged 27-68 years old with an average of 42.7 ± 11.5 years old and showed that some parameters were more relevant for the analysis of these relaxation devices and suggested some differences in the relaxation processes between devices. We hypothesized that by analyzing physiological parameters recorded during the rapid relaxation process in the same population, we could unravel the previously observed pre-post treatment variations. The measurements included brain wave electroencephalography (Muse2 EEG) recordings, respiration rhythm (mechanical abdominal movements) and heart rate variability parameters (PPG signals). The objective of the study was to identify the physiological parameters recorded during relaxation of interest to discriminate the groups and to study the effects of the devices on these parameters. The EEG recordings showed differences in dominant waves between groups. In addition, the Be-Breathe intervention group exhibited a […]

3. Use of automated speech analysis and facial emotion measurements on videos to assess the effects of relaxation devices: a pilot study

Elleuch, Elisa ; Gomes, Norma ; Do Carmo Blanco, Noelia ; Zimmer, Christophe ; Linz, Nicklas ; Konig, Alexandra ; Guerchouche, Rachid ; Guyon, Alice.
Rapid relaxation installations in order to reduce stress appear more and more in public or work places. However, the effects of such devices on physiological and psychological parameters have not been scientifically tested yet. This pilot study (N=40) evaluates the variations of vocal speech and facial emotions parameters in 3-minute videos of participant recorded just before and after relaxation, on four different groups, three of them using a different rapid (15 minutes) sensorial immersion relaxation devices and a control group using no device. Vocal speech parameters included sound duration, pause mean duration, sound duration ratio, mean vocal frequency (F0), standard deviation of F0, minimum and maximum of F0, jitter and shimmer. Facial emotion analysis included neutral, happy, sad, surprised, angry, disgusted, scared, contempt, valence and arousal. The objective of this study is to evaluate different parameters of the automated vocal and facial emotions analysis that could be of use to evaluate the relaxation effect of different devices and to measure their variations in the different experimental groups. We identified significant parameters that can be of use for evaluating rapid relaxation devices, particularly voice prosody and minimum vocal frequency, and some facial emotion such as happy, sad, the valence and arousal. Those parameters allowed us to discriminate distinct effects of the different devices used: in G1 (control) and G2 (spatialized […]